Chevys in Ballston Permanently Closes

by Katie Pyzyk February 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm 12,589 119 Comments

The Chevys Fresh Mex restaurant in the Ballston mall has suddenly closed.

Workers have been there all day clearing out the restaurant and taking down signs and lights. A long table now blocks the mall entrance, and the name has already been removed from the outside facade.

Two employees say the Ballston location is just one of the several closing across the country as part of the restaurant chain’s restructuring plan. Real Mex Restaurants Inc. owns the chain and filed for Chapter 11 in October, due to what it called high debt, high rents and a weak economy. A bankruptcy court approved the sale of the company last week.

The Chevy’s location at Pentagon City will remain open and an employee there said they’re still “going strong.”

  • John B

    Wow. They seemed to be busy every time I walked by (at least 1-2 times a week).

  • TY

    NY/Jewish Deli… Someone with brains, do it, it would kill in Arlington.

    No Cupcakes, no Virginia Tech Sports Bar.

    • John Fontain

      Agreed regarding jewish deli. A place called Daily Deli opened up recently in Ballston, but it doesn’t look like it has much seating. Anyone been there?

      • Hello

        I’ve been there once, it was completely empty at the height of lunch hour. The sandwich was ok but nothing special. They do use a lot of meat though which is good.

      • ArlThen

        It is very good! The ordering process is kind of weird, but the food is great!! As close to a NY deli that we have in Arlington, but no one goes.

      • ModestProposal

        They make sandwiches correctly (i.e. with as much meat as you’re willing to pay for) and import their ingredients from Carnegie. Plenty of seating to go around the few times I’ve been there. It’s the closest thing I think I’ve ever seen to a NY deli in this area.

        • VA^2

          The sandwiches are great and reasonably priced if you pay attention to what you are ordering – they sell a full sammie (over $10, but HUGE), a 1/2 sammie (around $6 and still pretty big), and a 1/2 of a 1/2 (around $4 and about average sized). The meat quality is great – from The Carnegie Deli.

          The downside is the ordering process and the people that work there. They just don’t seem to “get it” and understand how to make it work effeciently.

          If there’s no one there, its pretty fast and they make a great sandwich.

          • JamesE

            I agree, the sandwiches are great but my god the people working there are slow.

          • Steamboat Willie

            Adults who use the terms “sammie” or “sammich” sound like they’re in kindergarten.

            Otherwise, thanks for the heads up about Daily Deli.

      • zzzzz

        Where is this place?

        • chris (no not that one)

          In the same area as the Cigar store on Fairfax Dr.

          • zzzzz

            There’s a cigar store on Fairfax Dr?

          • zzzzz

            Apparently it’s at 1000 N Randolph.

          • Brian K.

            I stopped it once and walked right out. The prices (even for Ballston) were redic. It was like $11 for a half sandwich … also empty at lunch, not sure if its the prices or food.

          • ModestProposal

            I believe half sandwiches are something like $6, and the “half” means “half a pound of meat.”

    • Try The Tacos

      You cannot have enough VT Sports Bars!

      • Pete

        I am from Chicago, Fighting Illini… Virginia Tech is the worst, obnoxious fan base I have ever seen, along with Ohio State. It is not a great academic school and the teams do not compete for national titles.

        • hoooos

          +1. In fact they have zero national titles in any sport.

          • JamesE

            Keep holding on to that lacross national title or whatever sport no one cares about

          • Virginia^2

            I’d rather have a national title in something than a national title in nothing. Just sayin’.

          • JamesE

            We have bass fishing, buddy. Perhaps, just maybe one day there will be a UVA bar in the area, ties required obviously.

          • hoo2

            Doesn’t Tech have a cow-tipping title? Or maybe it’s turkey-shooting, I forget.

          • JamesE

            cow tipping is about the same as a soccer title

          • hoo2

            Sure, cow-tipping = soccer.

          • Southeast Jerome

            UVA wins the Zimi chugging contest every year. Gotta give them that.

            And they compete in Football. If you call competing hyping up your horrible team only to get your a** handed to you every season by the real men in the state, then yes, you compete.

            I remember when you vee eyy had a good team, that one year, in 1996 I think, oh yeah 18 years ago or something. Great season that one time in the only sport that matters.

            And for good measure, all the kids that graduate undergrad from your “business” school have zero finance skills so they all have to get MBAs to learn a thing.

            Proof on that? check how many undergrads from Pamplin have been hired on the street versus the red headed step child in the last 5 years. Its not even close.

            I can go on, but ill let them get back to celebrating fat tuesday with an ugly catholic drinking bad red wine.

          • MayorOfWestover

            LOL. Cow Tipping FTW. Huck the Fokies.

          • hoo2

            USAToday rank (for what it’s worth):

            UVA 25
            Va. Tech. 71

            Hokies think they win that competition because they have more points.

          • hoo2

            I meant USNews.

          • Tony

            Six national soccer titles. Soccer is a pretty popular sport last time I checked.

          • JamesE

            Do you wear ties to the soccer games?

          • hoo2

            Do you wear face paint to church?

          • JamesE

            Why would I go to church when I am agnostic?

          • hoo2

            So why worry about what Hoos wear to soccer games?

          • Southeast Jerome

            soccer is a popular sport?

            dude do you live in america? 75% of the “fans” at MLS games are not even from America.

            Its popular, just not in America.

          • Jon B

            It’s amazing how bitter VT folks are that they didn’t get into UVA!

        • Virginia^2

          But it does have its perks, like a Sugar Bowl selection. Tech alums are also extremely easy to spot on the road, with three or four window stickers and a license plate frame.

          • E

            Haha! i know, it’s like wearing the shirt of the band to the concert! I think rocking your car out in Tech stuff is cool if this was, say, TEXAS, NEW YORK, anywhere but the epicenter Alumni Base. Tech kids are afraid to see the world, must live near there mommys! bahahaha.

            Fight on Trojans! USC!

          • E

            I’ve lived in quite a few places, you are right Fighting Illini, Tech fans are the worst man, complete losers.

          • JamesE

            I am sure I could find several people to say the exact same thing about USC fans.

          • Southeast Jerome

            I am sure that there are no USC alums in LA either. And I am sure none of them have school spirit

          • Steamboat Willie

            I think during Freshman week, all VT students are loaded down with as much school paraphernalia as they can fit into a dorm room. The hyperexpression of school spirit reeks of insecurity, in my opinion.

        • novasteve

          Gotta agree with the transients here. Even I can’t stand Va Tech. However they aren’t remotely as bad as Ohio State fans.

          Go blue!

        • Kyle

          You’ve obviously never met a Michigan fan. Or a UVA fan. Or a USC (Socal version) fan. Or any number of SEC fanbases. Or a ton of other schools.

          Also, it seems to be a bit trolling to say “it’s not a great academic school” when, depending on your major, it is actually exactly that.

          • Eric

            Not a troll, but UVA and WIlliam & Mary, Washington & Lee are just a few schools that are better academically, speaking.

            Virginia Tech is a decent school. But I have lived in Virginia now for 6 years, but Virginia Tech is not GREAT, by any means.

            Oh, Go Boston University!

          • JamesE

            Obviously living in VA for SIX WHOLE YEARS has made you an expert on all our schools. Maybe just maybe some have better programs than others regarding certain degrees, amazing.

          • hoo2

            Six years is two whole years longer than a four-year degree! He must know alot about Virginia! In another year or two he can run for governor.

          • Kyle

            None of those schools have comparable engineering programs. Or architecture programs, for that matter. Or fine arts programs (surprisingly enough, one would think – UVA doesn’t even have a BFA, your best bet in Virginia is VCU).

            It’s a great school for certain majors. Just like many schools are. I certainly didn’t say all around that it was the “best for everyone ever in the whole world” school.

            Also: http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2010/sep/14/uva-tech-rank-highly-job-recruiters-list-ar-505809/ – for comparison among the in-state schools among national recruiters, VT was ranked the 13th school in the country and UVA as the 19th that recruiters believed had the best graduates. College is more than just academics.

          • rory

            Please. I’m not sure what the poll is exactly measuring. If you think top firms and employers really rate VT higher than UVa you haven’t been in the business world too long. (caveat: Engr/arch is a differens story)

            For example the economic consulting firm I worked for right out of college only interviewed kids from top tier schools, which included UVa but not VT.

            We had some Gtown kids, UVa, W & M, one Cornell, one Claremont McKenna (sp?). No VT kids.

            I guess they didn’t look at the right polls…

        • outoftowner

          ‘Not a great academic school’ is certainly a stretch

        • Suckhooos

          Really? Not a good academic school? I remember the adage of, it may be easier to get into VT, but it’s harder to stay in once you’re there. UVA was the transverse. Now it’s legitimately harder to get into VT, AND stay there. Go ahead, apply. See if you get in today.

      • Suckhooos

        So how many ACC titles does VT have…and how many times have the Hooooooos succumbed to the Hokies in the historical Thanksgiving weekend game? Whatever, you guys just want more bars recognizing popped collars.

        Football is all I care about anyway….

      • South Arlington

        At least Virginia Tech grads lead the state in job placement at Enterprise Rent A Car.

    • jan

      Great idea!

    • Arlingtoon

      Loeb’s in downtown D.C. (Eye Street between 17th and 18th) is packed every day between 11:50-1:30. Would love to see them branch out to Arlington (although they’d have to recruit a new screamer to order around the kitchen crew).

    • novasteve


      • JamesE

        It needs to happen

      • TheBeermonger

        Yes. I would weep openly with happiness if this happened. I miss my favorite bar so much…

        • novasteve

          Unfortunately Dr. Dremo said he has given up in Arlington at least.

  • Sully

    Sounds like they handled their closing slightly better than the previous occupant of that space.

    • Hello

      Who was the previous occupant?

    • Arlingtonian

      Yes, do tell. Who was there before?

      • Ballstownian

        Slade’s American Grill, IIRC. I think they closed sometime around 1997-1998.

        • Sully

          Yes, Bobby Slade literally closed the place overnight because he was so far behind on his rent and meals tax. Never told any of the employees, they just showed up one day and found the place locked up. And that was back when there was not a new restaurant opening up in Arlington every week for people to go find work.

  • ArlThen

    Ty- Do you mean like the NY style deli, Daily Deli, on Fairfax that is never busy?

  • Ballstonian

    Now is the time to get a real store that people actually want to shop at. Something like an H & M. Hell, I’d even take an Old Navy.

    • ArlThen

      I liked the joke you made about putting in an Old Navy store. Very funny.

  • Michael H.

    Renovate that mall!

  • SoMuchForSubtlety

    Better yet, tear down the mall and start over!

  • awh hells bells

    I’d like to see a Nando’s in this location or perhaps a Wagamama. Nando’s has a presence in the DC area while it looks like Wagamama’s only exposure in the US is up in Boston. http://wagamama.us/

    • typicalarlingtonmale

      A nando’s would be mint. I’d line up weekly.

      • Brian K.

        OMG … Nando’s I would line up daily and nightly! And it’s perfect size for them

        • A Nando’s in going into Pentagon Row near the DSW. There have been a number of restaurants in that spot. I think this one will be successful.

          • Brian K.

            wow, that is great to hear .. thanks. I will be making weekly trips there.

    • Arlingtonian

      I would love a Wagamama … haven’t been to one of those since I visited Dublin in ’06.

      • awh hells bells

        I’m really surprised Wagamama’s hasn’t taken off in DC or more specifically college towns. I guess it could be considered a ‘noodle bar’ but that description doesn’t do it justice, it is much more unique than that, it’s pan-Asian but their specialty is hearty ramen-bowls.

        The ‘tables’ are long communal benches, the servers submit their orders electronically to the kitchen via a hand-held tablet, and the open kitchen concept allows you to view your food being made. From ordering to having your meal set in front of you, the process takes no more than 10 minutes. I want Wagamama right meow!

        • Kyle

          There’s been a sign for Wagamama opening on 7th Street NW just south of the Verizon Center area for about a year now. Is that one ever opening?

    • Michael H.

      I went to the Nando’s in Bethesda. OK, but not spectacular or anything.

    • Ali

      There’s been a Wagamama in the works on 7th Street in Penn Quarter for years now. I don’t think it’s ever going to come.

  • Tre

    That reminds me of the time I went there and the uber-awkward waiter stood right next to the table after he handed me the credit card receipt waiting for me to write in the tip amount. Good times.

  • Virginia^2

    I’m not even joking, this is a serious, personal loss for me. Their super-strong $3 frozen margaritas and delicious 1800-calorie chicken flautas were a weekly slice of paradise for me. I also just discovered last week that their spicy wings are among the best I’ve ever had. I no have even fewer reasons to go to the Ballston Mall.

    • Dave

      Uncle Julio’s will take care of you.

  • Bill A.

    This place SUCKED. You would walk in, and even if there were multiple empty booths, they’d insist you sit where THEY wanted you to sit, giving you some BS excuse.

    • Allie

      To be fair, most restaurants use a rotation in which every waiter gets sat once, before you get your second table. Waiters are assigned sections. So they try to sit you in the section of the next waiter up for a table. Pretty simple.

  • Rick

    Senor Frogs!

  • arlwhat

    Good riddance. Gave the place three chances over a 6 month period and both myself and the Ms. were sick afterwards.

  • hoo2

    This is now a huge eyesore. There’s nothing uglier than a closed-down Mexican joint.

    • JamesE

      I think we can both agree that college park is probably uglier (only slightly)

      • Southeast Jerome

        College park filled with UVA undergrad co-eds, perhaps

  • Henry Spencer

    They were probably scared they’d lose the rest of their customers once the county raises parking fees.

  • Bimmie Zondi

    A brothel in Ballston Mall would likely do well. Good location, fair amount of foot traffic, easy to reach, and offers a quick repose going to/from work. Plenty of parking and metro access. Could offer both high-end and low-end establishments and now that it’s well into the 21st Century, it could also provide services for women.

    Plus, for the historic crowd, it would harken back to Arlington’s early days (although that was in the Roslyn area).

    • Josh S

      Classic. You, sir, have raised the bar for ARLnow comments.

      • Floater

        Really? I kind of thought that was average at best. Certainly not “classic”.

    • arglebargle

      There is (was?) that massage parlor across from the gym on the top floor.

  • jackson

    I wondered why there were 64 comments on this post. Didn’t guess 60 of them were two guys bitching about their Virginia schools.

  • xtr657

    Wow…sounds like most of you idiots can’t get over your college days and back talking other schools. Sorry some of us didn’t want to blow 10 times as much money to end up in the same position in life. Too bad Pennsylvania and Ohio suck so much you all had to move to Virginia. I can take the back talking from UVA kids, but the rest of you can go back to New Jersey or Michigan where you can drive around and see UM and Penn State bumper stickers instead of Virginia Tech. You chose to move here.

    Or…you could just choose to not go to Green Turtle and go somewhere else that doesn’t smell like Lysol.

    • Maria

      So I take it that “back talking” other states isn’t nearly as lame and immature as “back talking” other schools?

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer


    County and Zimmie totally screwed up on this one.

    It is part of their anti-car campaign. They saw the word Chevy and said “must be bad. must go. two wheels good. four wheels bad”.

  • Tom Smart

    i hope it’s one of the last nails in the Ballston Commons Coffin. What a lame shopping mall. The only thing it has going for it is the ice skating rink, the health club, Macy’s, a few restaurants and the cinema. What’s with the management there? When they first opened that mall, it was rather nice. but it’s steadly gone down since then. by the way, does any one remember arlington county promising to intall a Putt Putt course on that dirt triangle on glebe and randolph side? It was deal that they struck when the skating rink went in. funny how people forget about things that the county promises to do.

    • South Arlington

      Economically, a miniature golf course on that plot is a HORRIBLE idea. It’s like 2 miles to Upton Hill’s course also.

    • Elle

      Don’t forget that shoppers are relegated to the upper levels of that horrendous parking garage and if they are not lucky enough to park on the one level that goes directly into the mall they can choose between the sketchy stairwell and the planet’s slowest elevator. Ooh, and then we get to pay for the privilege.

  • NoVapologist

    What do UVA students and Virginia Tech students have in common?

    They both applied to UVA.

    • Suckhooos

      Never applied to UVA, never wanted to.

      • Michael

        You could not get in to UVA then. Please put your high school transcript and make us all shut up then. Nobody choose to go to Tech over UVA, unless this is football recruiting.

        -Northwestern Alum 1997

        • JamesE

          This topic has brought out some quality trolls.

        • Go Canes!

          Good point Michael. It is more than safe to say you are correct. UVA Graduates are much brighter, quick-witted, and worldly then VT Alum.

          • Rachel

            We get it, people who didn’t go to Tech don’t like Tech. Enough people.

  • Abe Froman

    I’d like to see anything that isn’t a chain.

    Chevy’s was beat like a red headed step child. The food was fair at best and clearly the last option for Mexican food in Ballston. FAIL on a sports bar of any kind. Ditto for cup cakes, coffee or hamburgers.

    • JamesE

      Perhaps you could open a sausage king of chicago restaurant.

  • Junior

    I’d love to see Ray’s the Steaks open a location there. Plenty of parking. Plenty of seating. The restaurant has a good following so it would draw. Seems logical and would be a great addition to the neighborhood.

  • Allie

    If another restaurant goes in, I’d like it to be a slightly higher-end one. We have plenty of options for casual fare – RB, Union Jack’s, Zoe’s Kitchen, Panera, Cosi, Potbelly, Daily Deli, Marvelous Market and the like – but very few bars/restaurants at the same level as Rustico.

    • JamesE

      Good point, unfortunately I don’t see the mall attracting that sort of establishment.

  • DuKwonzo Jackson

    No Jewish deli…no one would eat there except your token JAPPY chicks and some old geezers…open a Lebanese joint that is affordable…It would be much greater than some chunky deli

    • South Arlington

      Aladdin’s already failed like a block away.

  • Alex

    Either a good BBQ place or Vegetarian friendly/oriented restaurant. There’s neither in the Ballston area.

  • John B

    Went by last night and they were giving out free entree coupons (*not* buy one get one free) with directions to the two nearest Chevy’s locations (Pentagon City and Merrifield).

  • Annie

    You all sound like a bunch of thrid-graders

  • BRAD

    Perhaps it would not have come to this had they put more tequila in their margaritas


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